Background: In the United States, the rates and temporal trends of oesophageal cancer overall and for the two predominant histologic types - adenocarcinoma (ADC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) - differ between Blacks and Whites, but little is known with regard to the patterns among Asians/Pacific Islanders or Hispanics.
Methods: Using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results programme data, we analysed oesophageal cancer incidence patterns by race, sex, and histologic type for the period 1977-2005.
Results: Total oesophageal cancer incidence has been increasing among Whites only; the rates among all other race groups have declined. Moreover, rates among White men surpassed those among Blacks in 2004. Oesophageal SCC rates have been decreasing among virtually all racial/ethnic groups; rates among Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander men have been intermediate to those of Blacks and Whites, with rates among women being lower than those among Blacks or Whites. The ADC rates among Hispanic men may be rising, akin to the historical trends among Whites and Blacks. The sex ratios for these cancers also varied markedly.
Conclusions: These observations may provide clues for aetiological research.